Thurs DEC 21¨: I´m in a town called Panajachel (´Pana´), a town on an enchanted lake called Lago de Atitlan. The bus trip from Guatemala City was awesome - the 3 or 4 hours passed in a flash as I was glued to the window, passing through the highlands (the bus often overtaking trucks on perilous turns), and observing everyone going about their daily life. I have instituted a tiny little notebook and pen in my pocket, and everytime I hear or see a new Spanish word, I write it down and look it up in my dictionary. I was lucky enough to sit next to a couple from Spain on the bus, and ended up having a beer with them this evening in Pana. They are very obliging at correcting my Spanish and we have chatted away - and I am also going to take the boat around the lake with them tomorrow to a small indigenous village called Santa Catarina Palopo.
The FUNNIEST thing of the whole day was when I hopped on the bus in Guatemala City this morning, and one of the bus guys told me that for the first 10 minutes of the journey I would need to lie down below the line of the window in my seat. He then, very matter-of-factly, proceeded to demonstrate this, lying down with his hands clasped behind his head. He said that I should ´go to bed´ for the first few minutes so the police dont see us. I was totally bemused at first, and when I asked him he told me that they were not supposed to be picking passengers up from this terminal, and if the police saw passengers sitting on the bus in this area of the city, the bus driver would get in trouble. So, myself and two other local passengers, giggling, stowed away in our seats for the first 10 minutes! ha ha! It was hilarious, and uncomfortable trying to lie down in the awkward clanky seats.
It´s good to be back in guatemala - the smell, of pine needles mixed with dust and exhaust, the beans, tortillas and fried chicken, the ropas tejidas (weaved Mayan clothing) makes me happy. Í need a bit more sleep to get on track, but it´s all good.
Photos to come... I´m sorry but the wait will be worth it!